After two years of poor yields due to weather events, 2017 was a record year for some South Carolina farmers.
“We are experiencing one of the best harvests that we’ve had in my lifetime, certainly in my time as commissioner, which is 12 years now, certainly a little longer than that,” said South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers.
“I call it a well-deserved harvest because of what we’ve gone through,” he said. “But we’ll probably have record yields in corn, in peanuts, maybe in cotton, in soybeans, to finish up the year.”
The news is bittersweet for the state’s agriculture community, though. A deep freeze in the spring wiped out most of the state’s peach crop. In 2016, South Carolina produced 63,300 tons of peaches. That number was 12,500 tons in 2017.
“We have to remember way back in the spring, we had a late freeze that knocked out 85 percent of our peaches,” he said. “That’s the challenge of agriculture . . . every year is different and sometimes every season is different.”
“The resilience of our farmers is certainly evident in the fact that they’re still producing great crops this year in great, record yields,” Weathers said.
According to the U.S.D.A. November Crop Production forecast, provided by the South Carolina Department of Agriculture:
With yield forecast at a record high 137 bushels per acre, corn for grain production is forecast at 44.5 million bushels. Cotton production is forecast at 480,000 bales, unchanged from last month and up 92 percent from 2016. Forecasted peanut production remains at 468 million pounds, up 38 percent from the previous year. With a record high yield of 37 bushels per acre, soybean production is forecasted at 14.4 million bushels, up 15 percent from 2016.
The amount of peanuts planted at 125,000 acres in 2017 is a record high for South Carolina.